Parenting is hard work. If you’re a parent, you know that. If you’re not, you should know why the parents around you are exhausted and sometimes at their wits-end! There is love, snuggles, cuteness, and laughter—all of which are awesome. And there are tantrums, power struggles, food battles, and learning wars that are not so awesome.
I have to say my parents (yes, both of them) are amazing, stellar, cream of the crop parents. They are amazing people too. But as parents, they rocked it. They were consistent, even keel, affirming, loving, kind, and a wonderful example. I cannot remember one instance where either of them yelled. Not once. As a parent myself, that’s pretty miraculous. I wish I could say the same about myself as a parent. Instead I’ll just say I’m a work in progress.
Before I was a parent, I was a youth leader, youth counselor and youth pastor. I worked with teens at summer camp and in the church for years. And from time to time I would need advice about how to work with one. Regularly, I’d call my parents to ask for their input. Almost without fail, if I asked my dad, he’d say something like, “You should ask your mother; I learned everything I know from her.” And he’d pass the phone to my mom.
Always, she’d have an answer. She was an educator who had both her masters and extensive continuing education training. She and my dad took ELEVEN parenting classes before my brother was born. (He was the firstborn). ELEVEN classes. That’s a lot. I mean, parenting is hard, I get that, I’m grateful I’ve had 3 classes. I could benefit from 11, maybe it’d help the yelling thing…anyway. She knew a lot. She understood behavior from a developmental perspective, as well as a social one, and even an intelligence level one. She could identify the underlying issues and offer a dozen options for how to handle it and work with the student.
And then once I had Ruth, she continued to offer good wisdom. It’s a bit different as a grandparent because you don’t want to stick your nose in where it doesn’t belong (or isn’t solicited) and as a parent you don’t want to be seen as a failure (or at least that’s my issue) and so you (I) don’t always ask for advice when you should.
In January we started a new stage, it’s super *fun*. I don’t know which stage it is exactly…my mom would have been the one to tell me that. But it’s where my kid asserts her independence by ignoring, arguing, or defying most every bit of instruction I give. I wish I understood it so I had more patience for it. And, I wish I had my mom’s dozen options for how to curb it before it drives me insane.
I miss her. I wish I could call. It makes me sad she’s not on the other end of a phone ready to answer. But it also makes me grateful that I was raised by someone so amazing.